In the wake of an incident in which a boy was found dead in the apartment of a babysitter hired through a website, experts are pointing out the dangers of using such sites.
There are several similar websites that allow parents to register for free and be introduced to babysitters. Users provide their requests, such as "Looking for a babysitter for a 5-year-old girl" or "I hope someone can bring my daughter to kindergarten and pick her up as well." While waiting for replies from babysitters registered on these sites, the parents decide the details such as the fee for the babysitters.
Behind all this lies the fact that neither special licenses nor registration with local governments is required for anyone to be a babysitter. The All Japan Childcare Services Association, a public benefit corporation in Tokyo, independently conducts an examination to certify individuals as babysitters. As of October last year, about 12,000 people had obtained the certification. However, an official of the association explained: “It is possible to run a [babysitting] business without any certifications. We don't know what the reality is, as some babysitters are just individuals."
A babysitting operation in Tokyo screens applicants based on application documents and interviews, then dispatches them as babysitters, according to the company. In addition, the company asks parents to talk to babysitters for about 15 minutes when they meet them for the first time before giving their children to the babysitters' care.
Concerning the rise of websites to find babysitters, an official of the company said: "I had been thinking it has become very dangerous. More parents are using the websites as the procedures are simple and the fees are cheap."